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New campaign targets women smokers

Wednesday 26 March, 2003

New campaign targets women smokers

Women smokers will be the focus of a new campaign launched today by Quit Victoria. The new campaign was unveiled in Melbourne today, together with latest figures showing lung cancer has almost overtaken breast cancer as the leading cause of cancer death in Victorian women.

Quit Executive Director Todd Harper said the centerpiece of the new campaign is a television advertisement featuring the real life story of Jenny, a 42-year-old mother of three with terminal lung cancer.

'This real life story of the tragic consequences of smoking is given added poignancy with the release today of the latest alarming figures on the number of Victorian women dying from lung cancer,' Mr Harper said.

'It's been around a decade since a campaign was developed that specifically targeted women smokers in Victoria. These figures underline the need for a campaign to encourage women to quit smoking.'

Speaking at the launch of the new campaign, Cancer Council Victoria Director Professor David Hill said there had been an increase in lung cancer deaths among Victorian women in the last 10 years.

'The latest figures show that in 2001, lung cancer claimed the life of 645 Victorian women, or around 12 Victorian women every week.'

'Over the last 10 years the number of women dying from breast cancer has decreased by 4%. However, for the same period, the number of women dying from lung cancer has increased by 25%.'

'Based on current trends, we would expect that by 2006 or perhaps even sooner, lung cancer will overtake breast cancer as the leading cause of cancer death in Victorian women.'

'Smoking is taking a terrible toll on Victorian women, and the only way we can stop it is to encourage Victorian women to quit smoking.'

Mr Harper said lung cancer is one of a number of health risks women may face as a result of smoking.

'Many women may already know that their smoking puts them at greater risk of lung cancer. However, smoking is also a major risk factor for heart disease, and causes other cancers such as cancers of the mouth, throat and voice box.'

'Women who smoke and take the contraceptive pill increase their risk of heart attack and stroke, and this risk increases dramatically with age.'

'Young women may not be aware that smoking also places them at increased risk of menstrual problems, and is a risk factor for reduced fertility, difficulties with pregnancy and childbirth and earlier menopause.'

'Without campaigns such as this, Jenny's story will be repeated around this state time and time again as women lose their lives to disease that could have been prevented,' Mr Harper said.

Tobacco smoking continues to be the single largest cause of preventable death and disease in Australia. Around 6,000 Australian women die prematurely each year due to tobacco-related illness.

Further information:
Zoe Furman
Media Communications Manager

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